Over the past decade Geelong has been by far the best team in the competition as the underdog.
You can never write off the Cats and they usually represent good value when they are the outsider.
Going against Geelong in this match, however, is the fact the Swans have had the wood over Joel Selwood’s side more than any other side in the competition. Sydney has won six out of the last eight clashes against them.
The Swans’ success against Geelong has been based on a smaller forward line and there will be some good value in the top goal scorer markets for Sydney’s smaller brigade.
In Sydney’s victory earlier this year, Will Hayward kicked three, while Robbie Fox, Oliver Florent and Ben Ronke all kicked two.
Hayward also kicked three goals in his other match against the Cats last season and if you believe in history repeating, could be worth putting money on in top goalscorer markets.
Look for Sydney to get another win over Geelong with the Swans’ small forward line to get the job done.
Best Bet: Sydney -16.5
Value Bet: Josh Kennedy to have 35+ touches
Standing in the way of Adelaide competing in the Grand Final rematch is a terrible record in Victoria as the underdog.
Of the interstate sides, only GWS and Gold Coast have a worst record.
This year they lost to Essendon in the opening round when they were underdogs and got pumped by Hawthorn a fortnight ago.
Adelaide will take some confidence, however, out of their Round 2 victory against the Tigers, when they won by a comfortable six-goal margin.
The stars of the show on that night were Rory Sloane (25 touches and two goals), Rory Laird (42 disposals) and Josh Jenkins (five goals) and the Crows are going to need performances like that just to be in the contest against a Richmond side coming off their best performance of the season against Sydney last Thursday night.
Jack Riewoldt was irrepressible and Daniel Talia will have his hands full containing the Tiger spearhead on Friday.
A lot of Richmond’s victories at the MCG this year have followed a script so if you follow the trend, expect the Crows to stay with the Tigers early before Trent Cotchin’s side blows them out of the water in the last quarter.
Best Bet: Richmond to win by 21+
Value Bet: Richmond to win the last quarter by 33+ points
Brisbane’s future suddenly looks a lot brighter after their very impressive victory over Fremantle on Sunday.
This is a game that the Lions should win and win well.
If Carlton lets this one slip they will be unbackable for most losses and the coveted number one draft pick so don’t be surprised to see some shuffling at the selection table or some players being used in different positions this Saturday to ensure that the Blues don’t win.
Tanking or not, Brisbane should still have too much class for the Blues with their younger players like Jarrod Berry, Cam Rayner and Hugh McCluggage all coming off their career best games.
A day game is pretty rare in Brisbane and with 25 degrees forecast, the Blues could tire so look for the Lions to get on top and run away with it in the last half, with the $7 for Brisbane to win the second half by 37+ points looking very appealing.
Best Bet: Brisbane to win
Value Bet: Brisbane to win the second half by 37+ points
The Saints went over to Adelaide around the same time last year and almost pulled off one of the upsets of the season until Robbie Gray kicked a goal with the last play of the game.
That match was played in wet conditions and the early forecast suggests that it could be more of the same on Saturday.
The Saints, who have now won two heart stopping matches in a row, are likely to regain Blake Acres and Jimmy Webster from injury, while veteran Sam Gilbert or Logan Austin will come into the side after Nathan Brown suffered a hamstring injury.
Given the weather the +40.5 line for the Saints is extremely generous and don’t expect that to last all week so jump on it now.
Despite the Saints winning two in a row, Alan Richardson is still coaching for his future so there will be no thoughts of tanking for a lower pick for the red, white and black.
The Power should win comfortably but the Saints are worth having a little on to get the four points.
Best Bet: St Kilda +40.5
Value Bet: St Kilda to win
Melbourne will be breathing fire after losing to St Kilda and putting their finals aspirations in jeopardy.
Simon Goodwin is likely to make a few changes with the Demons reserves, Casey, flying in the VFL, so don’t be surprised to see Bernie Vince and Billy Stretch back in the side, while debutant Harrison Petty looked all at sea against the Saints so is likely to be dropped.
Fremantle on the other hand were pathetic against Brisbane and with Nat Fyfe now out with a hamstring injury things could be about to get worse for the Dockers.
Aaron Sandilands was a late withdrawal and a trip to Darwin isn’t too likely for the veteran ruckman so Max Gawn will have an absolute field day.
He’ll be short but back Gawn for most SuperCoach points when the markets open the big man is a scoring machine when playing interstate (and in Victoria of course).
Last round aside, the Demons are very good at beating up on the weaker sides so we are tipping Melbourne to notch a big victory against Freo.
Best Bet: Melbourne -37.5
Value Bet: Melbourne to win by 100+ points
There will be a few sides in the top eight checking the fixture this week hoping to see that they don’t have to play the Bulldogs on the run home to September.
Luke Beveridge’s men have found some form over the past fortnight with several of their young guns lifting the performance of the team.
Hawthorn wouldn’t have lost any fans in their loss to GWS on Saturday night and this clash is still kind for the Hawks so the $1.90 available to make the finals should be snapped up.
They will need to be winning games like Saturday night and the Dogs will not be pushovers.
All the talk about Hawthorn’s loss to the Giants was about Tom Mitchell’s haul of 50 disposals and with the Bulldogs not employing any major tagger this season, expect Mitchell to rack up another large total with $3.50 available for him to accumulate 40 touches.
Expect this one to be a pretty close game with the Hawks just having the edge in class which will get them over the line.
Best Bet: Tom Mitchell to have 35 disposals
Value Bet: Hawthorn to win by 10-19 points
North Melbourne is really missing Jarrad Waite with the veteran big man so crucial to the Kangaroos structure.
If it wasn’t for a late Jack Ziebell goal against the Dogs, the Roos would be coming off three consecutive losses so will be happy to be playing arguably the worst team in the competition, Gold Coast.
The Suns did beat North Melbourne in Round 1 this season but not a lot can be taken out of that match given the cyclonic conditions faced that night.
Gold Coast have been okay in their matches at Etihad Stadium, with a victory against Carlton in Round Two this season their most recent game there but that was on the back of an eight goal haul from Tom Lynch, who is unlikely to ever play for Stewie Dew’s team again.
We like the line of 43.5 points here for the Suns, who under the roof at Etihad should keep this one under seven goals.
Best Bet: Gold Coast +43.5
Value Bet: North Melbourne 1-19 points
As Brian Taylor would say, “Boy, oh boy wowee”. Suddenly this is a huge game with the resurgent Bombers facing off against their arch enemies who sit second on the ladder.
It is almost getting to the stage where you just have to back the underdog in every Essendon game, such is their form.
One of the Essendon’s assistant coaches described dashing defenders Adam Saad and Conor McKenna as “predictably unpredictable” and the same could be said about the Bombers form in general.
Out of the 14 Essendon matches this season, eight have been won by the outsider – five times by the Bombers and three by their opponents.
The momentum at Windy Hill is building and we like them to continue it this week with a third upset in a row against Collingwood.
The Magpies haven’t been tested for a few weeks and the manic ball movement from the Bombers up the corridor will put pressure on what is an inexperienced back line for Nathan Buckley’s side.
Best Bet: Essendon +9.5
Value Bet: Essendon to be leading at half and full time
We think the bookmakers have got this one wrong in putting up the Giants at $3.
The talent filled expansion side has quietly been going about their business, racking up four wins on the trot and we are tipping them to make it five in a row against a West Coast side struggling to cope without Jack Darling and Josh Kennedy.
The Eagles looked home at three quarter time last week against Adelaide but that score line flattered them with the end result more appropriate for a team that conceded 32 more inside fifties.
The Crows should have won that match by 10 goals, such was their dominance.
The Giants have never played at Optus Stadium, obviously, but did knock off the Eagles in Perth last year, as well as smashing them by 67 points in the semi final.
Get on the Giants for the win before the bookmakers wake up!
Best Bet: GWS +11.5
Value Bet: GWS to win by 20-29 points